Mob Psycho 100 is an anime that satirizes shonen stories (action anime/manga aimed at boys), pulls them apart, and actually uses their tropes as tools for didactic story telling. With Mob, those dumb action tropes don’t have to be just that, they could also be used as examples as to how one should or shouldn’t live their lives. Cocky guys with super powers that think they’re better than everyone are depicted as deeply insecure, supervillains who want to take over the world aren’t fearsome killers, but are actually manchildren that failed to grow up, and those musclebound jocks that spend all day working out aren’t mean bullies, but are instead people worth admiring because of their desire to improve themselves. That’s what Mob Psycho is at its core, it cuts through the superficiality that defines the shonen genre, and actually arrives at the morals of hard work and teamwork naturally and in a surprisingly grounded way considering its a show about psychics.
In the past I’ve praised shows like Person of Interest for being able to forgo simplistic procedural plots and incorporating more and more complex serialized elements in its story-telling, but today I’m going to do the unthinkable. I’m going to do something different. I’m here to tell you that this show, the 2015 anime series Death Parade, needed to be more procedural. It really, really did and that’s not just because the serialized elements that were there happened to be fairly boring for the most part.
The most insidious kind of racism in media is the kind that exists just under the radar. The kind that’s loud enough to be heard, but not loud enough to be seen. Maybe the writing of a show happens to portray all Asian men as effeminate and ineffectual weaklings, perhaps all black characters in a movie just happen to be layabout brutes with no thoughts or original ideas of their own. Yes, racism in media is most potent when it’s hard to spot, yet is simultaneously clear as day. The racism in the manga and anime series Terra Formars by Yū Sasuga isn’t like that at all. There is no subtlety to it, it serves no discernible agenda, and is the purest form of stupid; however with that said, it’s also kind of hilarious.
The plot for this series is the age old “humanity screwed up the Earth” story. Centuries ago (which is the 21st century as this is a sci-fi series that takes place in the distant future), humans decided to try terraforming Mars in an effort to make it inhabitable in the event that the Earth stops being so. Part of the process involved sending roaches up there (since they apparently spread algae), and because this is a manga, those roaches have evolved into giant monsters. These super evolved roaches (known as terraformars, the manga’s namesake) are what I assume to be the most terrifying thing imaginable to your average manga reader…